The first of July marks the top of blackberry season.  We have blackberry bushes scattered throughout our property, thanks to the birds.  I have many memories of blackberry picking! When I was 8 years old, I had found the first purple jewels in the blackberry bushes across the street from my childhood home.  What a marvelous bramble of berries!

With my right hand full of these jewels, I was peddling feverishly home (no more than a city block), barefoot, excited and then....injured.  My foot slipped off the pedal, and I crashed my bike.  The berries crushed in my hand which made for a horrible presentation along with my broken arm and dislocated elbow.   It was a very long day.

Other childhood memories involved being in the canopy picking the most succulent berries that ripen out of the sun's harsh rays so that the are divinely plump.  It is a quiet place of great bounty until you realize that you are not alone and there is a serpent in the bush with you--either in the bush or at your feet.

The reason for the excitement (and bravery!) was that my mother would always make a wonderful blackberry cobbler for us.  Who can resist fresh blackberry cobbler served with a splash of cream, whipped cream or still warm and topped with vanilla ice cream.  

And then there are adult memories of my beloved dog Dieter and Heidi, who would accompany me in my current blackberry hunting grounds--making enough noise to scare away any serpents, and eating the ripe berries--plenty for me and my body guards.

Yesterday Mark and I picked some.  I'll go out and get some more, and make a blackberry pie or cobbler.  That will be a nice treat for this holiday.  I don't have 4 cups worth, but I have some other berries to combine.

I will use this pie crust recipe from Simply Recipes.  I have also included this website in my Food and Cooking links in the menu above.  (As separated from Health and Nutrition!).  I will build my links over time, and I hope that you'll check them out.  Also check out the weights and measures from King Arthur Flour.  Every good cook needs an accurate scale.  I always use weights v. measures for flour.  Check out the link and make your baking more fool proof!

One of the problems with all butter crusts is that it softens quickly making the dough sticky and hard to work with.  One solution?  Use a gel cool mat.  Put a Silipat mat over a gel mat while rolling out the crust--from time to time.  (I always lightly flour the Silipat.).  By alternating a rest on top of the mat (mat, silipat, dough), then you keep the dough cold and can work with it more easily.  Yeah, I know that 'vodka' is a solution.  I'd rather work with rich butter in temperature controlled circumstances.


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